China Travel 2.0 Interviews Soultravelers3 Part 2

February 19, 2013

tips for traveling to China - silk road

Looking for tips for traveling to China? We at Soultravelers3, were very honored to be interviewed by the award winning China Travel 2.0 . Hopefully, the information will be helpful in your own trip to China planning, here is part 2 ( and this is part 1 China travel tips):

China travel - water village

How lucky your daughter can speak fluent Chinese, even she can recite the Chinese classics, such as dizigui弟子规,You know even not all the Chinese students know this classics. I am sure they will enjoy the trips in china, cause they can understand the culture easily, at least they can communicate with the locals if they want. It is a problem traveling in a strange country, of course you can call it adventure, but sometimes, if you can speak the local languge is the shortcut to understand the core of the culture, and you can benefit from the trips. It doesnt matter if you can not speak Chinese, Soultravelers3 give you some tips as below. —Winser

  soultravelers3 visiting China enjoying yummy dinner


3) Thank god your daughter can speak Chinese, but do you think it is still a problem for the non-Chinese speakers Travel to China? whats your tips for this kind of group people? how to enjoy the nice food and not miss the nice places? how to stop the cab etc.

China trip- food markets cooking!

On Yes, it was really a great blessing for our trip to have a child who is fluent in Mandarin. How lucky she was to make her visit to China already fluent. But we were also very lucky to have you and the school and many friends that you set us up with. Even with Mozart’s Mandarin, our trip would have been much  harder without that.

China travel

Yes, I do think the language barrier makes independent travel to China harder than many places.  By coincidence I met up with an old friend who was born in Hong Kong, but has spent the last 40 years living in Canada and doesn’t speak Mandarin and also an American acquaintance who learned Mandarin in Beijing 20 years ago who was visiting with her family. BOTH of them ( and they were doing tours) remarked repeatedly that they were amazed at how little English is available in China even in the service arena in major cities ( places where one would expect that in countries that don’t speak English).

travel by train in China

On the train to Shanghai, we met an Australian backpacker who was traveling China for 6 weeks who didn’t speak any Chinese, so independent travel is possible ( and we did much on our own of course), but a lot harder, so people must be prepared for that. He also said he was very disappointed with the food which he was surprised about as he’d been so looking forward to it. We, on the other hand, absolutely loved all the delicious food we had in China, but then many of our meals were through locals, so there is the difference. If we were just guessing all on our own,( places as well as menu items)  things might have been different.

China trip - Peking Opera

Cabs are wonderfully cheap in China, but unless one has a local connection, they can be extremely difficult for the traveler who doesn’t speak Chinese. Easy to flag down, but not once you get in due to language.  We didn’t meet even one taxi driver who spoke any English and even with Mozart’s good Chinese it was sometimes a problem ( like when she didn’t know the name of a famous destination in Chinese).

China travel - beautiful ancient temples

The key for cabs in China is to always have a written address of where you are going  and if at all possible to also have a local phone or sim card and a person to call if there is a problem. We had to use charades added to Mozart’s Chinese when we approached some taxi drivers on our own in Xi'an to take us from the Muslim Quarter to the city wall. We didn’t have a card or written information with us for it or our apartment where we were staying and just took the cab as a spontaneous decision with a short time frame.

China vacation - Xi'an UNESCO world heritage site Terracotta Army

So we were proud that we got there, but did have problems catching a taxi back to our apartment, so luckily we had your friend and guide in Xi’an to phone and he rescued us so we could catch our train. Otherwise that would have been a much bigger problem. We also had challenges with coordinating with our non Mandarin speaking Canadian Chinese  friend when we met for the Peking Opera. Luckily her hotel and our school helped us, but that would have been impossible without help.

China family vacation exploring markets

China is definitely doable for the independent traveler, but one should be prepared for the challenges and it helps greatly to have someone to call if there is a problem. Where ever we have traveled where there are few or no English speakers, we are challenged, but if one is prepared for that challenge it helps a great deal.

China trip soultravelers3 in Forbidden City

4) is there any disappointements this trip? why? what will you do and where will you go for your next trip? whats your plan for next year? whats your 46th country?

The only disappointment with our trip to China, is that we couldn’t extend our stay as we would have liked to have stayed longer. It was really a magical destination for us and that is because of you and the amazing people we met. We definitely felt the spirit of Lao Tzu while there and that deeply touched our hearts and stays with us.

China trip exploring the Great Wall

We’re always traveling since we don’t have a home, so life is one big trip, but we don’t plan too far ahead. Our focus now is continuing Mandarin education for Mozart and my healing, so we will be spending more time in Penang where it is easy to get those things. We plan to return to China for a longer stay if we can work out the details we need.

Forbidden City in Beijing with soultravelers3

Other possible countries in the coming year are India, Maldives, Thailand, Bali and Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Burma etc. We spent 5 years focused on Europe and now we are focused on Asia ( although we do plan to return to Europe for more).

Who knows what are 46th country will be?  We like to be spontaneous so we might be surprised as everyone!

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